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Well, after my first visit into the Kafue in 2015. I've decided to go back there as soon as possible, as I felt absolutely in love with that kind of park and the Safari experience there in particular.

 

So I managed to get a trip together, which showed a little bit more of the entire park and the different environment, than last time (stayed only 5nts @ Musekese Camp). Also the timing of the year was different. Last year I was there in the beginning of July an and now @ the beginning of September.

 

So this was a 10 Day Safari focussed on the Kafue NP.

 

Itinerary:

 

31. August. - 5. September (Musekese Camp)

6. - 8. September (Mobile Camp, Busanga Plains)

9. - 11. September (Kaingu Lodge)

 

Travel was quit easily this time as i had a direct flight from Zuerich to Johannesburg and only a short stopover of 1.5h in Johannesburg. Arrived in Lusaka at Lunch, I was greeted by Alec the new Guide they had and Jamie the instructor of the chef. Driving to the Kafue this time went over much quicker than last year I thought, but probably this was just an assumption. 5h later we arrived at the Camp with a very hearty welcome by Tyrone and the staff. It was great to be back or in other words to be back in the new camp. I was really excited about their new camp as i stayed last year in the old site (which i really liked as well). But as they have shown me the area of the new camp last year as well and with the many good sightnings we've had in the close surrounding I was very confident that the new camp will be nothing else than extraordinary!

So set in my lovely chalet before the sun was going down. The rooms are remarkably wide and even so the bathroom with a very nice shower and the large veranda in front of the dambo. The whole Camp is set up under a nice little "Island of Forrest" between the dambo in front and the higher grassland behind. Everything fits nicely into the surroundings. The Bar as well!

After a fantastic dinner we moved ourselves to the new fireplace which sits nicely on a little hillside in the bush. Having a nap of my usual Brandy, we were hering the roaring of the Lions quite near....This should be the perfect match for the upcoming days...

 

Day 1

 

Starting the day early as usual @5:30. Getting myself then through the bush to the main area for breakfast. We were just staying there for about 5-10 minutes and enjoying the view on the dambo infront of us as we already spotted the first Lions or better Lion cubs about 30m away from Camp! We just getting the short way out of the breakfast buffet into the Landy to get a closer look.

 

Here they are at 6:25am in the morning...we were able to watch the mother with her cubs 3 of them were visible (1 was behind somewhere in the grass). So a mother with 4 cubs.

 

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It was an absolute pleasure to watch the little ones fighting around with each other for such a long time. We stayed there for about half an hour.

 

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So a great start on the 1 Day and one to keep on for the next days especially with Lions.

 

More to follow... :rolleyes:

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What a wonderful start @@Grasshopper_Club I have been looking forward to your TR 😊

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Looking forward to more @@Grasshopper_Club, Kafue & Musekese ticked all the boxes for us back in 2014 so its great to see your trip starting so well.

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A very nice start!!!!

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Posted (edited)

Thoroughly enjoyed playtime with the cubs! They were jumping around like....Grasshoppers!

Edited by Atravelynn

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I've also been looking forward to this TR @@Grasshopper_Club and what a great sighting so close to camp to kick-start it!

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@@Grasshopper_Club I just love your photos of the lion cubs playing they are just so cute. :rolleyes::unsure: I can't wait to visit Kafue in 2018.

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Rest of the Morning Drive:

 

As previously stated, the lions went into the dense grass behind and left us alone for a while.

 

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The Dambo at this time of the day is quiet and all the Pukus have to made their way through the high grass between the wood and the dambo. As they tend to stay overnight in the woods and feel arguably more safe in there. During daytime they tend to stay in the open flats on the dambo with the water inside (small channels), whrere they can spot the predators more easily. It's quite intersting to see them on their way through the high grass, how carefully they manage this life-threatening exercise twice a day.

 

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As you can see there is still water in the dambo and that even during the beginning of September.

 

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We went further south of the dambo where it was getting filled up with Pukus.

 

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I'm not that good with birds, so sorry if I will mix up with some names. But I'll give it a try.

 

Not the best pictures but it was fun to watch them from the same position on 2 trees close to each other.

 

Black-Collared Barbet

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Crested Barbet

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Further down we were able to see the first group of Lichtenstein's Hartebeest.

 

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Tea time:

 

So After that we went back to the camp for lunch and having our little nap or siesta. I just felt asleep and stand up @ 3.15pm getting my camera gear and all the stuff ready for the tea time. A few minutes later I heard the Land Rover near the next chalet, which was quite strange as there is no track nearby. And more strangely the voices of the guest and Alec the guide. So didn't take to much fuss out of it and get myself in the bathroom when I could hear again the engine of the Landy. The sound of the vehicle is getting closer and then the Land Rover parked in front of my Veranda with the friendly request to jump into the car as the pathway back through the main camp was already occupied and blocked. :)

 

So I get myself into the car and we just made about 5m to the other end of my chalet and take a glimpse of the Lion cubs about 5-10m behind my chalet...

 

The strange thing in the middle of the picture ist the pile of my veranda..

 

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We just passed them and parked in front of the main deck and had our tea time, the lioncubs in mind. So we watched the right-hand side of the main area as that was the direction where the cubs were laying on the pathway. But then quite surprisingly we heard a loud snarl from the left. This was the mother with some distance to our position. She called your young ones. We then sat down and kept quite, as we saw in the distance through the thicket, that the young ones were moving on their mothers command in our direction. We sat perfectly in the middle... :)

 

So I was able to make some pictures to show, how close they crossed the sun deck where we were sitting deadly silent. Literally 5m infront..what a moment for us to watch them in such a peacful surrounding crossing our tea buffet...

 

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Afternoon/Evening Drive:

 

So after this excitement we went to the Landy again but this time for the boat. At my first visit there in 2015 i remembered the boating very well on the Kafue and it's definately my favourite especially on the reeds along the riverbanks to spot all the different birds around there, and with some luck maybe a leopard.

 

For anyone who stayed at the old camp before, the boating pier is still on the same site. So it takes about a 10min drive from the new site.

 

Some impressions:

 

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African Fish Eagle, everywhere around the water but on all places i've been in Zambia as well. Not without success the national bird of Zambia.

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Pied Kingfishers, plenty of them.

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bigger than mouth...

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Little Bittern (not 100% sure, but this name was fallen)

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After this nice sundowner on the boat and some good drinks, we went back to the pier and decided to have a little try on the Lions again as they were obviously just around the camp as we left the place before.

 

In short time we've been back on the dambo and it was getting dark soon so we just waited in front of the camp.

 

Sundeck with Chalet No. 1 on the left hand side of the camp.

 

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On here they come again. This time with the 2 male Lions who are dominating the area.

 

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Firstly only the males were on sight but shortly after they arrived at the scenery, the lioness with her 4 cubs was also joining from opposite side of the dambo.

 

We spent over 1h just waiting and watching the whole situation how they were playing around with each other. The whole camp and the place where we would have dinner was again only about 50-70m away. So we could spot the candles on the dinner table aready... :)

 

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So it was great first day with some magic experiences and a plenty of lion sightings...Lions in the morning, in the afteroon and in the evening. I went to bed, just hoping not to encounter one during the night.. :D

 

 

 

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Very cool sightings, really enjoying this report.

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@@Grasshopper_Club I particularly love your photos of the river because they show just how beautiful that portion of the Park is.

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Stunning @@Grasshopper_Club what a great day

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I haven't had time to read all your TR yet @@Grasshopper_Club but your itinerary is something I'd love to do myself.

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Very nice indeed....Zambia is on the list and now Kafue is on the top of the Zambia list.

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Day 2

 

Morning activity:

 

So I decided to do the boating once in the morning, compared to the ususal afternoon boat trip. We started early as usual an made our way out of the camp with the Land Rover. As I was the only guest today, I had the whole car and boat at my own disposition.

 

On the way to the pier, we heard again some Lions. We tried a track near the old camp site and went further round the corner and there on, we saw them relaxing in the early morning sun. Perfectly in place for us waited to be photographed.. ;)

 

This time of course, the 2 male Lions with a different companion. It was another lioness on which they carefully kept an eye on. There was no sight of the lioness the day before with her 4 cubs that morning.

 

So the couple was laying on one side of the track....

 

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And the other male was having an eye on them from the other side but in a fare distance. Here you can see his left eye is getting blind. According to Tyrone, this was the first time his brother was taking the chance on the ladys before that it was always his turn and his position as the untouched dominant male of them was always firm.

 

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After a few mintes, the newly found couple went away slowly but gently into the woods, the former leader of the pack was marking his territory and was following them in a distance. But for today he has to left over the field to his brother...

 

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After this further lion encounter we made our way finally to the boat with a little bit of a delay.

 

We decided to go down south of the river to Lufupa Lodge, where the Lufupa river gets into the Kafue river. The Lufupa is a smaller feeder of the Kafue which cames down from the Busanga Plains, or from the southern edge of the Plains. We went on then quite a bit with some nice sightings and the river and surroundings. Someting which always fascinates my are these little gullies heading inwards to the land from the riverbed and the high grass, where everytime something new or unexpected could lurk. There is a lot of game in there as well, often Pukus or Bushbucks and warthogs and plenty of birds and the perfect spot for a predator to sneak around.

 

The boat ride was as usual very good but as it was later on in the morning the light was sometimes quite harsh, compared to the afternoon cruises. Something I've noticed where the waves on the river created by a tiny little bit of wind. Nothing seriously but i definitely prefer the afternoons when there is absolutely no wind on the river and the lighting is perfect. And of course a sundowner on the river with a good old Mosi :D.

 

Some impressions:

 

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African Jacana feeding on the flies from the blossom.

 

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The Half Collared Kingfisher, my absolute favourite and often spotted around the riverbeds.

 

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Whats very nice with the new camp location and the distance with the pier, even when you're going to the boat you'll be on a drive as well and the subsequent flexebility here.

 

More to follow.

 

 

 

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Interesting you say that you noticed the wind causing waves on the river in the morning but no wind in the afternoon. Our experience was that there was quite a strong breeze in the afternoons, to such an extent that the boat was dragging its anchor. Different day, slightly different time of year (we were there in October), who says Africa is predictable :)

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@@Grasshopper_Club What an exceedingly good start to your safari! I hope the rest of the trip was equally as exciting.

 

Matt

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Great start and great pictures...will be visiting Zambia in the near future.

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@ all, thank you all for your comments.

 

@AfricIan

Indeed, the timing of the season must have an impact on that. Was there last July and now early September and i felt it was identical during the afternoon. But maybe I was just more comfortable with the light in the afternoon for photographing, as the golden light is building up to the end of the day :rolleyes:

 

Something which also had an impact I've tought were the late rains. When I arrived during the first night, the temperatures were much lower than expected. But it changed quite suddenly within a few days and it was getting noticably warmer during night.

 

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

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Enjoying your trip report and the wonderful pictures of the lion cubs. I hope I am as lucky as you with lion sightings when I visit Musekese Camp in November.

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Great report and photos Adrian! Brilliant lion sightings at Musekese.

I can't wait for the Kaingu section... :D

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Really nice to read this one, even when trip to Zambia is at least 2 years away! I like the variety of your photography, @@Grasshopper_Club !

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@@Grasshopper_Club I particularly love that photo of the half collared kingfisher. I have never seen one on safari before.

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Enjoying this report!  Looking forward to more.  Your lion encounters, particularly so close to camp, are wonderful!

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On 5/11/2017 at 6:21 AM, Grasshopper_Club said:

Day 2

 

Morning activity:

The boat ride was as usual very good but as it was later on in the morning the light was sometimes quite harsh, compared to the afternoon cruises. Something I've noticed where the waves on the river created by a tiny little bit of wind. Nothing seriously but i definitely prefer the afternoons when there is absolutely no wind on the river and the lighting is perfect. And of course a sundowner on the river with a good old Mosi :D.

 

African Jacana feeding on the flies from the blossom.

 

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~ @Grasshopper_Club

 

The perspective of the feeding jacana image is delightful.

 

I hadn't known that they fed on flies in the Nymphaea blossoms.

 

Thank you for posting this lovely photograph.

 

Tom K.

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Excellent stuff! I like the hippo, the river photos, and the spotlit lions especially.

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